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Jamie-Law, Solicitor
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Experience:  Solicitor
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I have recently (in the last 12mths) been declared bankrupt

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I have recently (in the last 12mths) been declared bankrupt in NZ due to a large student loan debt from the 90's that I was unable to repay. I have joint ownership of a flat in London and have just received notice of a hearing scheduled in Birmingham for 10 days time, where solicitors representing the official assignee in NZ are seeking assistance in relation to my bankruptcy - something about protecting their interests in this property. The person who lodged my bankruptcy in NZ is suggesting I seek immediate legal advice and I'm completely panicked!! The property is jointly owned by myself and my brother and we both live in Australia. What should I do?? I had some assurances that this was extremely unlikely that they would try and recover the amount all the way in the UK!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
having read all the documentation a little closer, and in the absence of a reply to my above question, I have a bit more information. the NZ assignee for my bankruptcy says that he has reason to believe that there is equity in the property (there is) but that they have reason to believe that there are inaccuracies in the statement made during my bankruptcy filing. I said that the property is basically my brothers, and that i just put my name on the mortgage to help him get it but it's "his" and I have no claim to it. This arrangement is informal because we could not transfer ownership to him without having to remortgage. My brother obviously was very worried about the property when I filed for bankruptcy but we had some assurances and did some research on forums and this site, and it seemed unlikely his flat would be in jeopardy! They have contacted the letting agent and we had told him that any questions about the bankruptcy should be directed to me - my
Brother didn't want a thing to do with it. They did not contact me but in the statement they say I have not responded to their requests for contact details for my brother - This is because my brother asked that he was kept out of this whole discussion so I asked them to contact me instead - and they say that because they have not obtained details of the tenancy for this property they got solicitors in the UK to assist with an investigation. At this point they established there is equity in the property and that it says there is a 60/40 share in the property - something I think we did when we got the mortgage but again, this was never something my brother and I were going to actually enforce and was just paperwork! The letting agent also appears to inadvertently have given them some inaccurate advice saying that he dealt with only my husband, not my brother, which is just a misunderstanding because I'm not married! They are saying though that I appear to have provided misleading information regarding my involvement in the property and that's why that want the court order to "enter restriction on the property", "appoint offical receiver as investigate, protect and realise any UK assets". Is it too late to engage in a conversation with the legal team to correct some of their observations?? Is it too late for my brother to get involved and tell them about the property?? Is there any way I can delay the court order to give me more time to seek advice? I'm desperate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please contact me by phone or email
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also - the amount owing to the single creditor in NZ is 60k (NZD) and they are saying there is approx 200k (GBP) equity in the UK flat
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They go on to say that they want to protect and realise their interest in the uk property, and they believe they have reasonable prospects of success and there are no known or anticipated defences. Does that mean it's a done deal??
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I contacted a local solicitor and was asked to transfer £12,000 for representation. That's completely out of reach for me, so does that mean I can forget about access to legal representation?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's been 24 hrs and still no response to my post!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Why are you named on the deeds/mortgage if you are nothing to do with the property please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My brother was told that he couldn't get 95% mortgage on his own so I went in with him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But he paid for everything - deposit, fees etc. It was just to satisfy the lending requirements. I haven't had anything to do with it since unless he needed a signature.

Ok - that is a problem then, as on paper you have an asset.

If you have an asset it can be seized and sold to realise money for your creditors.

I dont think you can stop them getting an order for the moment to secure a charge on the property, but it may well be you can contest it.

In reality if you are part owner then that asset can be sold, or your brother can purchase your share in order to release you

But if you own an asset then it can be sold to pay for bankruptcy.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advice. I guess I have 2 questions - firstly with regard to jurisdiction - is it possible to extend the conditions of the NZ bankruptcy to the UK court? I thought that I would just be bankrupt in NZ - for example I live in Australia and I am not bankrupt there. Secondly, are you saying that efforts would be better spent contesting the order rather than trying to stop the hearing?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
do I have access to legal aid or public funding with regard to representation?

1) Under the Administration of Justice Act 1920 and subsequent legislation, judgments obtained in the Superior Courts in many parts of Her Majesty's Dominions outside the UK may be registered by a similar procedure to that applicable to European judgments. So yes there is jurisdiction

2) I would come to an agreement with them. I think you can only delay the inevitable. Or try and contest the hearing, that is because you are named on the property. That is an issue for you.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it's unlikely that i'll be able to argue the case that I have no claim on the property because basically, legally I am joint owner - correct? And I could spend money contesting everything but it would probably make more sense to try and come to an agreement to pay the creditor? So either way my brother will need to either sell the flat or try and remortgage to release funds to pay the creditor. Do you recommend I try and reach an agreement with the original creditor, the NZ insolvency team or the U.K. Legal firm representing the insolvency team and how I would I go about this?

Sadly yes I dont think you can argue there is no claim.

I would apply your resources to contesting it or coming to a deal with the creditors in Nz.

You would need to speak to the Solicitors in the UK

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry if I'm asking silly questions here - I just want to be clear on my next steps! can I just call the solicitors in the UK and ask them if there is anyway we can reach an agreement? Such as would you accept partial payment of the amount owing to the creditor or something like that? Or perhaps my brother is offering me $40k payout, would they accept that? Or is this a conversation between solicitors? Also, on what grounds would you think I could contest it?

Yes you have that with UK Solicitors.

I dont think you can contest it really. Your only ground is that you are named on paper only, nothing more.

But that is not a great argument.

Can I clarify anything else for you about this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Jamie - that's been really helpful.

If this answers your question could I invite you to rate my answer before you go today, otherwise the site doesn’t pay me for the time spent with you. Thanks in advance and good luck.

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